David Tennant is to take on a role made famous by Sir Ian McKellen in a new Radio 4 comedy, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
The Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor will play the lead in Wild Honey, an adaptation by playwright Michael Frayn of an early play by Anton Chekhov. The original piece – which was missing its first page and therefore a title – was discovered in a bank vault in 1920, 16 years after Chekhov’s death.
Tennant will play village schoolmaster Platanov who has it all – wit, intelligence, a comfortable and respectable life in provincial Russia, plus the attention of four women – one of whom is his wife. The play is set as summer arrives and – along with the rapidly intensifying heat – the characters become giddy with sunlight, vodka and passion…
The part of Platanov was first played by McKellen in 1984, when he was exactly the same age as Tennant is now. It won three Olivier awards, including a gong for McKellen, and transferred to Broadway in 1986. It was first broadcast as a radio play in 2010 with McKellen again reprising the role.
For the new Radio 4 adaptation, Tennant will be joined by Poldark’s John Hollingworth as Sergey, Olivia Darnley (as Platanov’s wife Sasha), Saha Behar (as Anna Petrovna) and Eva Feiler (as Sofya). It is produced and directed by Clive Brill.